Come and meet your neighbors! GGTA organizes a monthly no-host social usually on the First Tuesday at a local watering hole conveniently located to the complex. We also sometimes go nuts and have a second social during the month, so keep your eyes peeled for announcements.
Also, GGTA stays vigilant about neighborhood issues and developments, and we’ll post information here about public meetings. If you want to know more about what’s being built, what’s changing regarding our streets or transit, and other decisions affecting our community, please watch this page.
One of the many things the Golden Gateway Tenants Association does for its members is attend civic meetings to get information about, and give input on, projects that could affect our neighborhood.
Thanks to SFMTA and Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s office, we regularly learn about street and transit issues at District 3 SFMTA Street Team meetings. It brings together community leaders and representatives from SFMTA on a regular basis so we can learn what’s in the works and give feedback, as well as talk about our concerns. GGTA President Geri Koeppel attended this meeting on Thursday, Aug. 24 along with representatives from North Beach Neighbors, Russian Hill Neighbors and the Union Square Business Improvement District. Peskin’s aide Lee Hepner facilitated.
The first topic discussed was the Columbus Avenue Streetscape and Pedestrian Safety Project, which includes bulb-outs at intersections that shorten the distance needed to cross the road. This has been in the works and debated for a few years now, and we asked for an update on what stage it’s in.
Also, as part of this project, we were told there will be a dedicated bike lane on Columbus Avenue between Broadway and Washington Street. One person asked for more details on the strategy for linking these three blocks with a broader bike route.
Much of the discussion centered on the second topic, concerning Chariot commuter shuttles. SFMTA is working on regulations and a permit program for Chariot and plans to take them to its board on Sept. 5. If approved, the new rules probably would take effect in October. SFMTA has had complaints about the private shuttles regarding safety and accessibility, which the new rules will address. It also is asking Chariot for data on ridership so it can analyze routes. Chariot shuttles are only allowed to stop in white or yellow loading zones; they can’t use Muni stops. However, it was mentioned that they don’t always stop in approved zones, and have been seen driving in “red lanes” marked for transit only.
SFMTA also touched on the Embarcadero Enhancement Project, which intends to create a dedicated, protected bike lane along the increasingly more crowded waterfront. Hepner said that although it will be tied to the long-term seawall improvements, the goal is to make some temporary improvements in the meantime.
In addition, neighborhood leaders all expressed concerns about safety on Muni and the perception that more riders are opting for private transportation such as Chariot, Uber or Lyft, creating a tiered system that could cut into Muni’s budget over time. SFMTA staff are aware of these concerns and assured the group that they’re being addressed.
Koeppel also asked about a rumor that SFMTA plans to eliminate northbound traffic on Drumm Street from Market up to Washington as part of the Better Market Street initiative. Neither Hepner nor SFMTA staff were aware of the plan. Later, we learned that there is no plan to make Drumm southbound-only.
However, there is a change proposed for southbound Drumm: Vehicles won’t be allowed to turn right onto Market Street. Southbound vehicles on Drumm will be forced to turn either right onto California (a new route) or left onto Market Street, as they currently can.
Neighbors living near the site of the proposed Teatro ZinZanni theater and hotel project at the Embarcadero and Broadway got an update on the project on August 7. The big news is: Not much has changed since the previous report, and the project is continuing to move through the city’s planning process.
If you’re just joining us on this issue, the circus dinner theater Teatro ZinZanni was a previous tenant on the waterfront from 2000 to 2011 at Pier 29, but its lease was terminated when the Port of San Francisco decided to host the America’s Cup and subsequently build the James R. Herman Cruise Terminal at Pier 27. The city promised Teatro ZinZanni could return, though, and the Board of Supervisors in 2015 granted Teatro ZinZanni a sole-source waiver to develop the hotel and theater on the seawall lots. It’s now heading into the approvals process and eventually building permits.
Annie Jamison, Executive Director of Teatro ZinZanni, Architect Mark Hornberger of Hornberger + Worstell and Jay Wallace of Teatro ZinZanni’s partner hotel developer, Kenwood Investments, provided details about where the project stands to board members and neighbors representing the Golden Gateway Tenants Association, Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association, Gateway Commons, FOGG, and others.
First off, the hotel project has added an additional 12 rooms on the interior of the project since we last received an update, for a total of 192-guest rooms now, but the addition of the rooms will not require a change to the exterior design, streetscape and building amenities, or mechanical systems of the building. Also, the city’s Architectural Review Committee of the Historic Preservation Commission preferred red brick exterior to the gold brick that had been proposed, and square-shoulder windows instead of arched windows and those changes have been incorporated into the project.
The city’s Planning Department at one point seemed unsure of the glass gazebo housing Teatro ZinZanni’s historic spiegeltent, but neighbors were told that hasn’t changed … with one caveat: Wallace said the developers are considering asking for permission to replace the glass roof of the glass-walled gazebo with a metal roof on the top of the glass-walled gazebo in order to reduce the high cost of building it completely in glass. Neighbors were cool to that idea, however, and Wallace said it was “not a deal-breaker.” Even if that happens, he assured everyone the bulk of the building would be glass and would provide a nighttime showpiece thanks to interior lighting.
All other elements of the hotel and theater project were the same as previously presented. The buildings won’t exceed the 40-foot height limit (plus the allowed 15 feet for mechanical equipment which will continue to be screened) and all of the street trees that exist now will remain. Also, it will include a privately managed park with security, and will include a cafe/coffee shop near Broadway and Davis Street and restaurant/bar near Broadway and the Embarcadero. All of these public elements ideally will spur foot traffic and activate the neighborhood.
As we heard previously, there will be no on-site parking, but a valet service will use the roughly 1,000 parking spots within a quarter mile of the site for hotel guests. Theater guests are expected to use ride services, taxis, tour buses or public transportation (the F-line streetcar stops at the intersection and the Embarcadero BART/Muni station is less than a 10-minute walk). Parking for personal bikes will be available, too.
The soil testings, historic review, and studies on traffic, wind and shadows have been submitted to the Planning Department, Hornberger said, and from here, the developers are about 90 days from beginning the public approval process so they can apply for building permits. The goal for the construction timeline is starting in summer of 2018 and finishing by winter of 2019. Developers are aware of the simultaneous sewer work starting this fall on the Embarcadero.
Neighbors asked if there would be noise, light and dust mitigation and were told yes, but the developers don’t have the details yet. All of the specifics will be in a public document disseminated to neighbors prior to construction as part of the project’s mitigated negative declaration anticipated for the project.
Neighbors also asked if public space would be provided to neighborhood groups for meetings and events at no charge, and were told there would definitely be opportunity to schedule conference rooms and meeting spaces for their use. Finding meeting space for large groups has been an issue for neighborhood groups in the past, so this was welcome news.
Mark your calendars for an important Fire Safety Presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 31 at the Gateway Theatre (formerly Eureka Theatre), 215 Jackson St. Inspector Fernando Juarez of the San Francisco Fire Department will give tenants essential information on fire prevention and dealing with a fire emergency.
GGTA has been working on hosting a fire safety event ever since a fire broke out in the garbage chute in Vista South on January 16, 2017. Tenants had numerous questions about procedures and fire safety, which will be addressed by Gateway management in this presentation. Continue reading “Don’t Miss the Fire Safety Presentation Aug. 31”
We got some good news from Gateway management this week: They’re re-evaluating the contract with the elevator vendor and hope to get a new vendor that will be more reliable.
As you all know, since the elevator controls were updated a few years ago, we’ve been plagued with intermittent yet ongoing outages. The plaza elevator was out of service for about three months this year, too, creating hardships for the mobility impaired and people using strollers.
Geri Koeppel, president of GGTA, sent an inquiry to Clarisse Tan, director of property management, asking if a new vendor was in the works, and got this reply:
The Golden Gateway Tenants Association is strongly opposed to a bill, SB 384, that would allow California cities to permit alcohol sales until 4 a.m.
Sen. Scott Wiener introduced this legislation, and it passed handily—27 to 9 with four not voting—in the Senate on May 31. GGTA and many other neighborhood and grass-roots groups are opposed to this bill, while several business and industry groups support it. Mayor Ed Lee is on record supporting it, so if it passes the Assembly and is signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, we’re sure that San Francisco will eagerly embrace the opportunity to keep bars and nightclubs open later.
Gateway residents: Our stretch of Washington Street needs your ideas to improve its gloomy appearance.
Walking down Washington Street on the two blocks between Battery and Davis is a bleak visual experience because of high blank walls on both sides for parking garages at One Maritime Plaza and the Gateway.
The next two blocks of Washington between Davis and the Embarcadero are just as bad on the north side, including the black fence for the Bay Club tennis court. Why does the street look like this?
Probably because Washington was an off-ramp for the Embarcadero Freeway when One Maritime Plaza and the Gateway were built in the 1960s. Now the freeway is gone, and times have changed. This street needs to look better. What can be done?
GGTA is looking for creative ideas to improve these four blocks. One possibility is to ask the Bay Club to decorate the tennis club fence along Washington Street the same way it has already decorated the west side of the fence facing the Golden Gateway Commons condos.
Please let us have your opinions. Our GGTA board will talk over the ideas to come up with specific proposals to discuss with the well established civic organization San Francisco Beautiful. We will then open discussions with Gateway management, One Maritime Plaza, and the Bay Club, who would need to agree to suggested improvements.
Let’s hear from you! Please use our online contact form, which goes to our president and other board members, or come and talk to us at one of our First Tuesday socials, which are announced in our member emails and on Nextdoor.com.
While the laundry rooms at the Gateway are a convenience that tenants appreciate, we all know they can be a source of frustration. Machines break, and worse: the drain lines back up and flood the floor, causing a safety hazard.
We recently contacted Gateway management and a manager with WASH Laundry to inform them of the frequent broken machines and flooded floors. A slip-and-fall can result in serious injury, particularly for our older residents.
We were pleased to find out that WASH Laundry and the Gateway are working on finalizing a contract to upgrade the machines. We were told this could possibly include reworking/redesigning the drains, which could alleviate some of the drain backups.
Neighbors recently got more preliminary details about an affordable housing rental complex for low- and moderate-income residents and seniors planned for our neighborhood.
A slide presentation at a public meeting of the Northeast Waterfront Advisory Group (NEWAG) at the Port of San Francisco on April 6 showed early designs for the buildings, which will take up most of the block between Vallejo, Broadway, Front and Davis. The slides showing renderings are below.
The number and type of units as well as the various levels of affordability have changed over time, and could be altered again. A representative for BRIDGE Housing told us the Mayor’s Office of Housing asked for more three-bedroom family units, which has slightly decreased the total number of units in the family building.
Starting this fall, Gateway residents, their neighbors and anyone who drives on the Embarcadero will be inconvenienced by 16 months of on-and-off construction and lane closures due to much-needed sewer improvements on the North Shore Force Main. Loud noise is expected throughout the project as well.
We reported in January that these repairs shouldn’t be as disruptive as the work we endured in 2014-15, but it turns out that’s not quite true. (Click here for the earlier article.) At the April 6 meeting of the Northeast Waterfront Advisory Group (NEWAG), a volunteer citizen advisory group to the Port of San Francisco, representatives from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) outlined the upcoming plan, which held a few surprises.
Keep in mind that the North Shore Force Main serves 350,000 residents throughout the city, and this project is absolutely mandatory to keep our sewers working properly. Also, we are grateful to SFPUC for overseeing a project of this scope and for being communicative and responsive. But we want to warn residents, area workers and visitors that they’ll be in for some unpleasant months ahead.
Sunday Streets is coming to Bayview and Dogpatch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Sunday, April 9, and it’s a short jaunt via bicycle or from the Embarcadero station on the Muni down Third Street to access it.
Three miles of the Third Street corridor will be shut to vehicles so you can enjoy the neighborhood and its businesses at a leisurely pace on foot. If you haven’t been to Dogpatch, it has numerous charming shops and cafes.